You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net
When a team scores a lot of points and gives up a lot of points and wins like, for instance, in the Bucs' Week 10 win over the Redskins, that is generally considered to be a great victory. Their 36-35 win was viewed as a momentum builder, a win that helped propel them to the division title. Even though one side of the ball, the defense, was generally ineffective and not functioning up to snuff, the Bucs scored a lot of points so everything was OK. There's no talk of, my gosh, they're going to be in trouble if that defense doesn't pick it up. In this case, the win is a great deodorant, washing away the stench of a poor defensive performance. The Bucs' game here is just an example; it happens all the time.
Now, on the other hand, if a team wins with superb defense and not much offense, as the Redskins did on Saturday, the deodorizing effect of the victory is diminished significantly. Just like in the 36-35 game, one side of the ball is working superbly and the other one isn't even competent, but unlike the high-scoring affair it is viewed as an ugly, even undeserved win
Let me ask you this. If a team gave up the most yardage ever by a winning playoff team, would anyone make more than a passing mention of it? No, because needing to score a lot of points to win is considered to be winning "pretty".
Certainly, you'd rather win in a balanced fashion like the Patriots and Panthers did with good play on both sides of the ball. But the Redskins should not have to apologize for winning or feel inferior because only the defense performed well.
One fun element of the Bucs game was the fact that they were turned down on two replay challenges and they whined about a couple of other calls. After what happened in November there, it was justice served up a bit cold.
There was zero evidence that Marcus Washington was down by contact on the fumble that Sean Taylor eventually returned for a touchdown and on the second challenge the replay confirmed what the back judge had originally called. As we found out with the "Tuck Rule" earlier this season, some rules may not make sense, but they are there nonetheless.
Generally, the Bucs were baffled about the call on the Shepherd play but they didn't complain about it much. Chris Simms did do some related whining however. He said that while he was OK with the Shepherd call, "But the first interception that LaVar Arrington caught, that was a fumble."
He went on further about his two interceptions, both of which came on tipped passes. "Both interceptions were going to be 20-yard completions." Yeah, and I was going to be the Queen of England, but a few things got in the way of that.
The best comment was made by John Gruden before the game. Talking about the controversial two-point conversions, he said, "I don't care about hurt feelings, all I care about is us." Couldn't agree more, John. Actually, there is one thing I do care about, John. When's your tee time on Monday?
This season, I haven’t been doing much reviewing of my Bold Predictions like I did last year. I just didn’t find it to be interesting most of the time, so I didn’t do it.
The reason I did it in the first place was because I didn’t like it when writers touted the predictions that they got right and buried the ones they got wrong. Having gone one game better than the Redskins this time at 12-5 with my winner predictions so far this season, I’ve certainly been right more often than I’ve been wrong, so it’s time to do just a bit of crowing
From my Bold Predictions entry last week:
Chris Simms had the day of his brief NFL career the first time the teams played. He threw for 3 touchdowns and no interceptions with a gaudy QB rating of 119.8. He wasn’t sacked; for that matter, he barely even hit.
It will be different this time around. . . He will be very fortunate if his rating is half of what it was the first time.
Simms' rating for the game, 52.6, less than half of what it was the first time around.
Cadillac Williams won’t beat them either. Tiki and LT ran against the Redskins this year and Tatum Bell popped a couple of long ones. Nobody else, not Alexander, not Jones (Thomas or Julius), not Jordan, not Westbrook, not Tiki the second time around, ran on the Skins. Cadillac won’t either, and that will worsen Simms’ problems.
Williams gained 49 yards on 18 carries, an average of 2.7 a pop.
The bottom line:
It won’t be pretty and it won’t be for the faint of heart, but the Redskins will survive and advance.
Washington 17, Tampa Bay 13
That's the second week in a row I got the Skins' score on the nose, for the record. I called 31 points vs. the Eagles in that Bold Predictions piece.
Now, back to your regularly schedule pontificating.